October 2023 in Arezzo
Barbara Stepansky is a WGA Award winner, a Nicholl Fellow and an award-winning independent film director. Born in Poland, her father's involvement in the Solidarity movement led to the family relocating to Germany. After receiving a degree in philosophy of science from University College London, Barbara pursued her Master's at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and in Directing at the American Film Institute with her acclaimed short film THE TROJAN COW. Her work was short listed for the Academy Awards, garnered the DGA Diversity Award, the Student Emmy and was featured on the Black List. She is the recipient of the Mary Pickford Foundation Scholarship and the Franklin J. Schaffner AFI Fellow Award. She has directed three feature thrillers, several web series and various short films. FLINT, a film she wrote about the Flint Water Crisis for Sony/Lifetime with Queen Latifah, was nominated for a Critics Choice and won a WGA Award. She is a co-creater and headwriter on TOTENFRAU, a Netflix/ORF series, and a writer/producer on the Sony/Starz TV Show OUTLANDER.
Alexandra Qin is a French-Filipino-Chinese screenwriter and director. She was born and raised in Paris, France and is currently based in New York. Before working in film, she was a software engineer, the founder/CEO of a prison reform and tech nonprofit, and an activist and international public speaker for diversity and inclusion in technology. Alexandra started writing her first screenplay in 2020. Since then, she has been the 2022 Page Awards Grand Prize Winner, a 2022 Nicholl Fellowship Semifinalist, the 2023 WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Winner, and the 2021 Finish Line Social Impact Winner, among many other accolades. Her first short film, the proof-of-concept for the THIRSTYGIRL feature, was a winner of the 2022 Shore Scripts Short Film Fund. It premiered in June 2023 at the Provincetown International Film Festival followed by the Palm Springs International Shortfest. She is represented by Luber Roklin Entertainment.
Scottie Thompson is an actress and an activist. She grew up performing on stage as a ballet dancer, and pursued a career as professional with The Richmond Ballet, the State Ballet of Virginia. She followed her passion for storytelling into a career in film, TV and theater, after completing her undergraduate degree in Performance Studies at Harvard University. She has recurred in series including Bel Air, 12 Monkeys, NCIS, The Blacklist, and MacGyver, among others. Her film credits include Crown Vic, Limbo, Skyline, Star Trek, The Lookalike, and most recently starred alongside Finn Wittrock in Start Without Me and opposite Gabriel Byrne and Thomas Jane in Murder at Yellowstone City, which she also produced. She has appeared on stage recently in a world premiere reading of John Patrick Shanley’s Drop Off at the Marilyn Monroe Theater in Hollywood, as well as in the world premiere of Shanley’s short play On the Terrace. Outside of acting, she is involved in environmental activism, and is passionate about and involved in promoting health, education and women’s rights. She is an Ambassador for Artists for Amazonîa, a collective of artists and activists in the US inspired to protect the Amazon Rainforest, and is thrilled to be joining Amazonîa Fund Alliance as an Ambassador to further the cause. She is also a contributing writer for the magazine Art Confidential:LA and has had the opportunity to interview and write stories about writers, visual artists and exhibits in LA and around the world. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at @iamscottiet
Frank Donnangelo is a Los Angeles-based writer-director originally from the mountains of Northwest Arkansas. His perspective growing up in small country towns fuels a passion for telling intimate character-driven dramas about flawed individuals searching for connection, finding their identity, and rediscovering home. Frank’s latest short film, THE MOTIONS, was shortlisted for a Student Emmy® and won Grand Prize Best Short at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. His works have garnered awards and nominations at over 50 film festivals around the world, as well as support from the Panavision New Filmmakers Program, New Filmmakers Los Angeles, and the Cine Story Foundation. Currently, Frank is developing his debut feature, WEIGHT OF ANOTHER. He is an alumnus of the American Film Institute Conservatory, where he earned his M.F.A. in Directing, and is an active member of the Actors Studio Playwrights-Directors Unit in Los Angeles.
Dr. Kat Powers is the mother of an adolescent know-it-all and a former award-winning production designer. She also happens to be a pediatric psychologist. Kat found segueing from film production to working with tantruming toddlers and teens to be a surprisingly smooth transition. Kat writes coming-of-age stories, mainly in the YA space, about fish-out-of-water-lone- wolves who long to find their people and place. Her projects mix thriller and comedic elements, so it’s not implausible that she might actually be Stephen King/John Hughes's love child. Several competitions have recognized Kat’s work (First Place Winner: ScreenCraft Family-Friendly, Grand Prize Winner: StoryPros International, Silver Award Winner: Page International, First Place Winner: Vancouver International Women in Film Festival, Top 5 Finalist: Final Draft Big Break.) Kat hopes to eventually capitalize on being a US/Canadian dual citizen.
Madi Stine is an award-winning LA-based writer/director. She creates character-driven comedies that celebrate the peculiarities of life. Her latest short film, Out of Water, screened at festivals including Palm Springs ShortFest, LA Shorts, and Nantucket Film Festival. The film won Best Short at Myrtle Beach International Film Festival and Best Student Film at Julien Dubuque International Film Festival. Madi recently won the Harvardwood Writers Competition with one of her feature scripts. She earned an MFA in Screenwriting/Directing from Columbia University and a BA in Film and English from Harvard University.
Katiana studied literature and film at King's College London and is now based in Berlin. Her latest short film was funded by the Ministry of Culture and Education of Cyprus and is about to start its festival journey. She is currently developing a TV pilot and a feature film.
Lowell Williams is known in New England as an award-winning playwright, actor, director, and producer. His company, Perseverance Productions, performs a musical adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” nationally. His stage play, “Six Nights in the Blackbelt,” about civil rights activists Stokely Carmichael and Jonathan Daniels, and has been produced nationally. Lowell has a couple short films he wrote and others directed on Vimeo. Other stage plays include “Talking to Starlight,” “The History of the Rose,” and “Sputnik: A Love Story.” A new play, “Letters From My Daughter,” starring Anthony Payton, will premiere in 2024. He has an MFA from Goddard College, is an Associate member of the Dramatists Guild, an alum of Stowe Story Labs, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Great Plains Writers' Conference, and Write On Golden Pond (with Ernest Thompson).